Gambling is betting something of value – like money – on an event whose outcome is determined, at least in part, by chance. This can be done at a casino, in a lottery, or even on the Internet. People can lose more than they gain by gambling, and in severe cases it can cause financial, social and family problems. It is important to understand how gambling works and the risks involved before engaging in it.

Often people think of casinos when they hear the term ‘gambling’, but it can happen in many places, including lotteries, office pools and betting on football matches. There are also a number of games of skill, such as video poker and slot machines, where the gambler can win more than they lose.

There is a range of risky gambling behavior that spans from those who are at risk for developing problem gambling to pathological gambling. Pathological gambling has high comorbidity with other mood disorders, especially depression, which can be triggered or made worse by compulsive gambling.

If you are concerned about a friend or relative’s gambling, it is a good idea to seek professional help and support. Counselling and treatment can help a person overcome gambling addiction. Inpatient or residential care is available for those with severe symptoms that require round-the-clock support. Other treatments include medication, psychotherapy and group therapy. Some families find that addressing underlying mood issues, such as depression or anxiety, helps their loved one stop gambling.